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A new corporate flight op Europe - your wisdom appreciated

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A new corporate flight op Europe - your wisdom appreciated

Old 1st Jun 2012, 16:54
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A new corporate flight op Europe - your wisdom appreciated

We are in the final stages of authorising the set up of a corporate flight department (UK Midlands based) for our organisation, but before we finalise the plans I thought it best to get the input of the wealth of experience of the people on this site (trolls excepted!!) especially the very important people in the sharp pointy bit at the front looking after the very important people doing nothing in the back.

I have looked at our flight profiles and requirements and have come up with a fleet profile as set out below - this is based on comfort, range and as it is a green field operation (not wanting to go the Management route) commonality of aircraft.

Expected route profile
LA,NY, Vegas, Houston, Hong Kong, Dubai, Malaga, Palma, Turkey, Greece (yes I know - we may drop this), Cyprus

Aircraft type
Falcon 2000LX or EX with winglets
Falcon 7x

Crewing would be Co-Captain


Your advice and comments would be appreciated on the following.
  • Is it possible/recommended to cross validate flight crews on 7X/2000 and in your opinion would you feel comfortable switching type on a regular orderly basis?
  • What do you feel would be the safest and most comfortable/workable rostering (trolls please do not comment 0 days on every day off)
  • Any recommendations on acquisition consultants (No brokers please as I can already access all on market and most off market aircraft) I am looking for someone with proven experience in the intricacies of this type of purchase ie legal, insurance contacts/advice as well as confirmed Falcon pre-purchase inspection and due diligence skills.
  • Best place to advertise for a Chief Pilot

Looking forward to your input and valued experience
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 17:22
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Private only NO AOC

Above the clouds - quick response thanks

This will be a totally private corporate flight operation.

Forgot to say, will most likely be under Aruba reg - depends on the legal (blood sucking) people

PM forthcoming when we get to next stage - don't want to waste your time until we get full board approval.

Regards
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 17:25
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especially the very important people in the sharp pointy bit at the front looking after the very important people doing nothing in the back.
Glad you have worked that out already !

Can't comment with Falcon experience on the 7x and 2000 'crossrating' (never flown the French beauties), but my personal feel having been rated on more than 1 is: I loved it, cause I hate to be bored. Its a tad more expensive for the ops though...and pilots leaving/joining the ops will obviously be more of a disruption than only 1 type rated ones.

The roster is the most important thing IMO and my personal preference would be 7on 7off. But with your destinations you might need more than 4 pilots (obviously depending on the frequency of traveling the long distance legs you have in mind. Either more pilots or a lot of rest.

As for the advertising...Id guess your email box will explode soon enough
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 17:45
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I would personally be more worried about having everyone as Captains than about flying two types to be honest.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 17:52
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his dudness

Quote:
especially the very important people in the sharp pointy bit at the front looking after the very important people doing nothing in the back.
Glad you have worked that out already !

My life, my family's life my business partners and their family's life in your hand up the sharp pointy bit !!!! courtesy and civility works both ways if the crew aint happy I am definitely not getting on board !

Interesting on 7 day on-off - how does that tend to work if the flight was 3 days but last day fell on day off? how would that be best coped with?

Regards
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 17:55
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above the clouds

Looks like plan z then

3 or 4 per aircraft then
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 18:04
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silvernapper

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"I would personally be more worried about having everyone as Captains than about flying two types to be honest."

is that to do with CRM ?

was looking at having command based on seniority and was under the impression that co-captain would offer greater flexibility and safety.

Would be very interested to understand experienced (no trolls) peoples viewpoint on this.

Regards
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 18:29
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nteresting on 7 day on-off - how does that tend to work if the flight was 3 days but last day fell on day off? how would that be best coped with?
Just have a 'time account' - when a crew does overtime, its got to get it back.

If you manage to get good guys this shouldn`t be an issue at all. Less it happens regularly. It really depends on how much you really fly and how long your stays, say , in LA are got to be.

I do 'manage' a 2 Pilot - one airplane flight department. We are 2 captains and there is no issue at all. It can be an issue if 2 big egos get together. But then, some copilots do have big egos as well.

We do operate according to the German duty time an rest period law.

That would mean we got to get additional rest for flights covering more than 4 time zones - as most of your mentioned routes do as well. 'Our' rule is: factorize any time difference hour more than four by 8 hours additional rest.

So a flight across 6 time zone would require 10 hrs (or more, up to 14 if duty is more than 10 hrs) rest plus 2 x 8 hrs = 26 hrs rest altogether.
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Old 1st Jun 2012, 21:49
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Ok so far many thanks - to summarise my thoughts on structure so far
  • 1 chief pilot 7x and 2000 type rated (what about TRE/IRE??)
  • 2 x 4 capt either 2000 or 7x type rated only on 1 AC type
  • 14 on 14 off and time account for any days duty overrun
  • Ensure command structure in place and in place in SOP's
  • Ensure FTL equal to or above EU standards min rest HK LA route 48 hrs
  • package above NBAA average plus car plus per diem plus usual toys plus loss licence etc plus family benefits

I am also considering an engineering manager and also Ops Manager to ensure CP can concentrate on flight ops - please let me know your thoughts on this - could outsource of course but concerned we might not get the right continuity.

Any thoughts on attendants as well would be appreciated numbers etc

Regards
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 07:06
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Maybe consider 3 Captains. One would always be off duty and you rotate them when back at base. Expensive maybe, but not as expensive as having 2 crews obviously. Cabin crew, I'd say have 2 available based on the routes you have indicated. Flight frequency will determine overall crew numbers.

I'm involved with managed aircraft (UK based) so if you'd like to discuss all requirements, including engineering support, cabin crew, ops and so on and maybe look at benefits of outsourcing, I'd be happy to assist.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 08:16
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Just to add, you won't need 365 days per year cover as there will always be maintenance down time and that can be planned in advance thus allowing rostering of 3 Captains to be planned into that down time.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 08:52
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Clouds

Not saying that at all. With 3 Captains, one is always off on a rotating basis. When the aircraft is in the shed, all 3 are off.

Without knowing projected yearly flying hours, this is all hyperthetical anyway.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 09:23
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a real gem of a thread

At last PPRuNe shows its true worth.

Good luck.

glf
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 09:27
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1. Of course without flight intensity estimate it is difficult to propose something but at least as a starting point I would consider one crew dual type-rated and two crews rated only on one type each. This would provide necessary flexibility and keep crew maintenance costs at reasonable level. And I would be against 100% one type rated crews because it would create two different "teams" in one small company with very limited information exchange. In result you could get two mini-operators.
2. My company has a lot of operations away from base and we came to 3 weeks roster as an optimum.
3. I would certainly prefer Capt / Co-pilot crew as more stable and somehow safer. This is especially true in small company with limited number of pilots. Of course specific personalities can make a lot of difference either positive or negative.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 10:54
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I am also considering an engineering manager and also Ops Manager to ensure CP can concentrate on flight ops - please let me know your thoughts on this - could outsource of course but concerned we might not get the right continuity.
I would strongly recommend both, an engineering manager and an ops manager.

Your airplanes will have to go to a CAMO. Still they make mistakes and if left unsupervised, can burn a lot of money even without having the intend to do so or can make you operate illegal. (mine has overlooked a change in the MM and would have let me fly with a non valid stby battery - I caught it...)

Im controlling what our CAMO does and for 2 airplane flying say, more than 300hrs/year, Id say it is sufficient work to have at least a part time guy doing it. The older your aircraft get, the more important it is. Also there can be a lot of guarantee claims whilst your airplane is covered under warranty. I had several claims turned down that were claimed by the mx/CAMO company, that were paid after I weighed in.
It also makes good sense if the person watches the SB/AD/Service letters and gives a summary to flight crews etc.

If your chief pilot is flying as much as the rest, then Id certainly would think about a person managing operations. If this needs to be a real manager or more or less a secretary is - IMO - a question of how your CP sees his duty and probably what software you use to manage the whole thing.

FPlanning and permits is a major pain in the butt these days and certainly something worth to source out, if not youd probably need 2 persons do the job (again depending on frequency of flight and how sudden they pop up)

I used to fly a Challenger 300 (AOC air taxi) and we employed a single guy for FP and permits, which was indeed cheaper than outsourcing the whole lot. (there was second small jet in that ops)
An indoor solution usually works better in terms of using the experiences made by the crews - I do my flight planning myself, but get the permits from a provider with 5 employees. And even at that small place they sometimes manage to forget what my special requests are...

I also hate to have to deal with a different person every time I call. But that is a personal taste thing...

Last edited by His dudeness; 2nd Jun 2012 at 10:56.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 11:03
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my 2 cents

Having experience is exactly the kind of ops you are planning for the past 10+ years on both sides of the isle I wonder why you are not considering using some management company (TAG, Jetaviation, Globaljet etc etc etc) rather then reinventing the wheel all over again.
However, if you are going at it alone please consider the following:
Crewing: 4 pilots/aircraft - this offers the flexibility you need to allow for training, leave, sectors requiring augmented crew. The rostering schedule depends on where the crew will be based. If you allow crew to live away from your home base (i.e. anywhere within continental Europe) then a 14/14 rotation is what most prefer. This translates into 15 duty days (2 in transit) and 13 days off.
Type ratings: This depends on how you plan to operate. If your company plans to apply for an AOC you need to adhere to EU-OPS 1 and as a result will spend a lot of time and resources to all kinds of courses and training. Having dual ratings is not recommended in that case. In the latest iteration (of EU law) there are severe restrictions on cross training and operations.
Operation type: "private" - good choice. This gives you some freedom of overly restrictive OPS 1 , FCL and 145 issues. In my opinion these are made for airlines with far greater recourses don't cater for the specific difficulties of corporate operations. Some corporate flight departments use EU OPS as a guideline and use their good judgement as to when to abide by it and when to deviate.
Command structure: Cost wise 2 captains / 2F.O's per aircraft. But there is no reason why 2 captains can't fly together if you choose some other structure. Any crewman with a modern western training and attitude should be able to work with anybody with the same.

I would be happy to provide more "insights" if you want. Feel free to PM me.
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 12:25
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Many thanks so far

To all posters and messengers

I would just like to say many thanks so far for all the constructive, informative and professional comments and messages. It has definitely been an exceedingly worthwhile exercise so please keep them coming.

I'd just quickly like to try and answer a question posed by DNK regarding why we do not use a management company rather than reinventing the wheel.

Well, we have not ruled out any possibility yet either in house or managed, however, the issue of how to ensure the crew is valued and happy doesn't go away Which ever way we do it.

Once again many thanks for your comments they are of great use.

Regards to all
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 19:36
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Most management companies can charge like a wounded rhino....


What's most important here is getting the right people with the right attitude regardless of whether they are in ops, co pilots or captains.

You'll pay the right ops guy somewhere between captain and co pilot money and you should be happy about it, you will probably have poached him from a major player or management company with a worldwide AOC Get him/her an assistant

I fly the same type as His Dudeness and have the same problems with warranty claims and second appeals. The right people assuming you do 300+ hours per year should be able to cover their Salary with credit notes. It's also MEGA important that each aircraft has a pilot who is its "champion" who also knows the maintenance schedule inside out and endeavours to ensure the aircraft gets non essential TLC and isn't scared of obligating other crew members to help,out with it.

At interview ask the candidates if they would consider coming in at a quiet time on a day off to clean the aircraft, or ask them what product they use to clean their leading edges on their current type......gauge the reaction and make your mind up.

Regarding crew....there was a class quote n here regarding two management types one DFO and a Finance guy who was insisting he would only hire typed people as their was a fear of them leaving and taking their existing training with them.

Finance Guy: "Can you imagine the training costs if these guys leave??"

DFO:"Can you imagine the training costs if these guys stay........."

So happy people is the key, sounds like you know that already, good luck with it sounds like exciting times
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 20:03
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Ensure FTL equal to or above EU standards min rest HK LA route 48 hrs
Ummmm, so you are going to park the aircraft for 2 days for the crew to rest, that will really impress the owners.

Mutt
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Old 2nd Jun 2012, 20:30
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Yes, all of this sounds too good to be true.
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